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It's a playoffs truism that role players tend to play better at home than on the road. In the first half of Game 3 of the NBA Finals, reserve San Antonio Spurs guard Gary Neal proved it once again. In the first two games of the series, Neal shot a combined 6-of-16 from the field and 3-of-8 from beyond the arc. Those are solid numbers, but they didn't indicate the explosion to come. In 14 first-half minutes, Neal put in a game-high 14 points, including a 4-of-6 mark from three-point range.
His biggest basket came at the last possible moment. With seconds left in the first half, Danny Green blocked a short LeBron James jumper to give the Spurs one last shot at a basket before the break, albeit an unlikely one. Tony Parker took the outlet pass near half-court and passed quickly to the streaking Neal, who pulled up for a three-pointer from the left wing right at the buzzer. This basket gave San Antonio a 50-44 halftime lead.
With Parker hitting a corner three with 26 seconds on the clock, our Kelly Dwyer tweeted that this sequence may have been the most successful 2-for-1 in NBA history. There's no obvious way to check the validity of that statement, but it seems pretty correct from this vantage.